Interesting History from 1954 in Gilpin County
By Steve Byrne
On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the following was posted by Toby Mexico on the You know you’re from Gilpin County Facebook page. I transcribed the 1954 article below as it appeared in the original publication, with the author’s punctuation, spelling, etc.
1954 letter to the editor in an issue of the Central City Tommy-Knawker newspaper.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Black Hawk, Colorado
August 3, 1954
Readers of The Tommy-Knawker:
Those of you who enjoy the spirit of hospitality of the old west should make a trip to Fort Cody. It is located about a mile from the old town of Gilpin.
To reach there you leave highway 119 about ten miles north of Black Hawk and about a mile beyond the Quien Sabe Ranch. It’s a left hand turn and should be made with great caution. Signs on the road will direct you to the Fort.
Nineteen Sioux and one Winnebago Indians live there and at eight P.M. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the Red Skins make a sham attack on a wagon train and we are told that all of the people in the wagon train were killed. Of course that isn’t true, but the war cries and crack of the rifles – with the burning of the wagons is thrilling.
After the “Massacre” the Indians in full regalia dance before a great camp fire in the Fort. Then Captain Ozie Waters, with his guitar and his songs entertains the audience. Then there’s dancing and other amusements for the people.
It’s all free – no admission and free parking.
After the Indians dance they take up a collection to buy grub with. Joe Berrea, an educated Sioux graduate of the Carlyle Indian School, is Chief of the Indian population and Chief Marrow Bone, with his clearly spoken language and moderate, thoughtful utterances is a fine old fellow.
The whole layout appears to be more of the development of an ideal than a scheme to make money, but Dr. Newman and his partner, Ozie Waters, have some sleek looking stock on the 400 acre ranch.
There are refreshment stands, but you are welcome to bring your own grub and camp under the trees and sleep in your sleeping bags. The three year old grandson of Joe Berrea, who name is Padlock, is an accomplished dancer, but the little rascal won’t dance unless the spirit moves him – not even for a quarter.
P.S. – I might add that the fort is not far from the site of the 1860 town of Sonora, which historian “Aunt Mae Cotter” of Rollinsville rediscovered about a year ago.
Publisher’s note: I thought this was too good to not share with our readers as there is sparse information available about Fort Cody, and appreciate Toby and Steve for taking the time to post this story. – Aaron Storms, WRC Publisher/Editor
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